|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 4.22.13
Monday, April 22, 2013 ‚Äď
God Bless America
In recent days, we have endured much as a nation. I have a heavy heart and am saddened by the loss of life, the injuries, and the devastation, but I am also deeply grateful for the dedication, bravery, and professionalism of all those who work to keep us safe. May these tragic events in Boston, Massachusetts, West, Texas, and the New River Valley bring us even closer together with resolve, strength, and grace.
Obamacare ‚Äď A Badge of Honor?
On Thursday, April 18, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appeared before the Energy and Commerce Committee‚Äôs Subcommittee on Health.
I took this opportunity to ask Secretary Sebelius about the negative impacts of Obamacare on the Ninth District of Virginia. My questions were inspired by listening to people across the Ninth District of Virginia.
Stories like that of a local business owner who will be forced to either lay off one of his three shifts or pay a $43,000 fine when he is unable to comply with the law‚Äôs mandates.
- The twenty eight year old young man whose premiums will skyrocket next year.
- The 7,000 part-time workers across the Commonwealth whose hours will be cut to ensure that the state‚Äôs costs are kept under control.
- The retired law enforcement officers working as court security in Wythe County, many of whom already have health insurance or Medicare coverage. To avoid having to pick up insurance for these folks that already have insurance, Wythe County is having to cut back their hours. For some, this may translate into a 30 percent pay cut.
Secretary Sebelius said that Medicare Advantage rates nationwide have gone down, contrary to my mother‚Äôs experience. I am curious as to whether these national statistics play out in our rural communities. If you are a resident of the Ninth District enrolled in Medicare Advantage, please let me know if your Medicare supplemental rates have gone up, stayed the same, or gone down. I would appreciate your taking the time to let me know what your experience has been.
- My 82-year-old mother, who reports that rates have risen for her Medicare supplemental policy commonly known as Medicare Advantage. In order for my mother to keep the policy that she has and likes, she is now paying higher rates. Remember federal funding for Medicare Advantage was cut in order to pay for Obamacare.
During her address to the Democratic National Convention in September 2012, Secretary Sebelius said, ‚Äú‚Ä¶Obamacare is a badge of honor.‚ÄĚ There is widespread agreement that our health care system has long been in need of reform, but many of my constituents do not agree with Secretary Sebelius that ‚ÄúObamacare is a badge of honor.‚ÄĚ To see the video clip of when I questioned Secretary Sebelius, please visit my website.
Another Story from Virginia‚Äôs Ninth District
I recently took to the floor of the House after hearing a Democrat bemoan that we weren‚Äôt doing enough on climate change. I shared an amusing note that one of my constituents posted on Facebook. He said something like, ‚ÄúWhen I carved my pumpkin, it was snowing outside. Today I dyed Easter eggs, and it‚Äôs snowing outside. Congratulations, Mr. President ‚Äď you have solved global warming.‚ÄĚ
I support the use of coal in this country with reasonable regulations, but we must also protect American jobs. While recognizing that climate change is a serious issue, we must remember that we do not have this planet to ourselves. Countries like China and India are increasing their coal production and usage with equipment that is far less efficient than ours and without even having many of the reasonable regulations we had a decade ago. They do this because they want jobs. We cannot solve the worldwide pollution problem without their participation. Put simply, it requires a global solution. The United States has taken steps to begin addressing these problems, but we need other countries to act as well. After all, we want jobs too.
The Beard Caucus
I was also amused when reading an article featuring a recently-created group that seemingly laments the waning numbers of lawmakers with beards or goatees. The last several years I had been wearing a goatee, but interestingly, I had begun growing out my beard just a few short days before this article was published.
‚ÄúEven as the symbol of good ol‚Äô fashioned ruggedness has been embraced by hipsters nationwide,‚ÄĚ the article reads, ‚Äúit has fallen out of favor among members of Congress.‚ÄĚ
I was previously unaware that I am one of the increasingly scarce members of what could be referred to as the ‚Äėbeard caucus.‚Äô But rest assured that I will continue working with my colleagues ‚Äď be they bearded or bare ‚Äď to achieve commonsense solutions to health care, environmental, and other issues we face as a nation.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office by email, please visit my website at